WAMC/Application Advice (519/4.0)

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Jan 3, 2024
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Hi everyone, I am currently a 3rd year undergrad and wanted to get some input on how I can improve my app. Here are a bit of details:

California Resident, ORM

cGPA/sGPA: 4.0 at T20 Undergrad (so far)

MCAT: 519

Extracurricular: Vice-President of a biotech club ~200 hours

Editor-in-Chief of another club's healthcare related journal ~250 hours

Research: ~800 hours over 4 labs, co-author on 6 papers (1 basic science in Science Advances, rest clinical papers)

Shadowing: ~150 hours with surgical oncologist

Clinical hours: ~300 involved in working with clinical trials

Volunteering: ~60 but started 2 months ago, expect to be at least 200 by time I apply. I show patients around the hospital and push people around in wheelchairs

I will be applying this upcoming cycle, what can I do to improve my app? At this point, I don't have too much time left, so I know I need to be very selective on what I do. I personally feel like my research is pretty strong, so is it diminishing returns to continue it at this point? Should I continue my research (which would basically take up all my time), or pivot to use my time in another way? Also, do you think I have a chance at t20 schools? I am just beginning to research schools, so any advice for that too?Thanks!

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You really need non-clinical volunteering to the less-fortunate population around you. If you are going to school in California, there is no lack of opportunity there. If you applied right now with what you're planning, your cycle is likely not going to be as successful as you want. Things like homeless / food bank volunteering are what you should look for.

It would look a bit better if you had some primary care shadowing. Otherwise, your "on-paper" app looks "ok."

You really don't need much more research, so if time is stretched thin, downsize in favor of non-clin volunteering.

You clearly have some chance at T20's, but you're not really better than average there. Just use MSAR to target schools with GPA/MCAT's near yours. Just remember that you're competing with many applicants with much better EC's.

The other tools to use are LizzyM and WedgeDawg to target schools. There's also a new tool floating around here made by a member, but it really hasn't been subject to the test of time.

And finally, if there isn't a compelling reason to apply in May-June 2024, then plan a gap year. This way you can enjoy your last year of UG. It's the last time you'll be in college.
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You should accumulate 150+ hours of non clinical volunteering before you submit your application (food bank, homeless shelter, etc.)
I suggest these schools with your stats:
The UCs (except Riverside unless you are from that region)
USC Keck
USF Morsani
Washington University (in St. Louis)
St. Louis
U Michigan
Case Western
Ohio State
Mount Sinai
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@Faha has a bunch of T20’s in his list. If you want a really good chance at them, then 150 hours is a bare minimum. Try to get 250 to 300 to be closer to most competitive applicants. Otherwise you’ll look like you’re just checking the box. I sound like a broken record but a gap year would really allow you to buff your application, since your OP suggests you want to aim high.
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